Crowns are an ideal way to rebuild teeth which have been broken, or have been weakened by decay or a very large filling or discolored or damaged in an accident. The crown fits right over the remaining part of the tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape and contour of a natural tooth. . Crowns can be used to align crowding or protruding teeth, close gaps or lighten tooth colour.
Crowns are made of a variety of materials and new materials are being introduced all the time. Here are some of the options available at present:
* Porcelain bonded to precious metal: This is what most crowns are made from. A precious metal base is made and layers of porcelain are then applied over it.
* Porcelain [All ceramic]: They can look very natural and are most often used for front teeth.
* Precious metal (gold and palladium): these crowns are very strong and hard-wearing, but are not usually used at the front of the mouth, where they are highly visible.
The dentist will prepare the tooth to the ideal shape for the crown. This will mean removing most of the outer surface, and leaving a strong inner ‘core’. The amount of the tooth removed will be the same as the thickness of the crown to be fitted. Once the tooth is shaped, the dentist will take an impression of the prepared tooth, one of the opposite jaw and possibly another to mark the way you bite together.
You will need to have at least two visits: the first for the preparation, impression, shade taking and fitting the temporary crown, and the second to fit the permanent crown.
The life of a crown will depend on how well it is looked after. The crown itself cannot decay, but decay can start where the edge of the crown joins the tooth. It is very important to keep this area as clean as your other teeth, or decay could endanger the crown. Properly cared for crowns will last for many years.